Extensor Tendonitis of the Wrist
Extensor tendons connect muscles in the forearm to the finger bones at the top of the wrist and back of the hands. The muscles pull on the tendons which cause the hand and fingers to extend. The tendons run through a series of rings, or pulleys, that form tunnels along the fingers and thumb. They work similar to a line guided along a fishing rod, with the pulleys holding the tendon close to the bone. These tendons are made up of tissue called collagen and elastin, ensuring that they are both tough and flexible.
Extensor tendons need to glide smoothly and are enclosed by synovium, a thin sheath of smooth tissue that reduces friction for easier movement. When the tendons become irritated and inflamed, their ability to glide within these compartments is restricted. This causes wrist and hand pain during movement and tenderness when direct pressure is applied. When the extensor tendons are inflamed it is referred to as extensor tendinitis, also spelled tendonitis.
Tendon fibers can tear apart in the much the same way a rope becomes frayed. Once a tendon becomes frayed, an inflammatory response is triggered; over time an inflamed tendon can become thick, bumpy and irregular making it more difficult to glide during hand movements. Without proper rest and time to heal, a damaged tendon can become permanently weakened.
An injury to these tendons can make everyday tasks difficult, and may very well affect a persons performance or abilities at work. At present the results of tendon repair surgery are far from ideal, as such an invasive technique can often create excess scar tissue (adhesions) between the sheath and the tendon, restricting mobility and leading to a loss of function.
Extensor Tendinitis Symptoms
If you are suffering from tendinitis in the extensor tendons you may experience one or all of the following symptoms:
- Initial pain over the back of the wrist that is only felt under strain, eventually becoming a sharp or constant dull pain whenever you move your wrist
- Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the wrist
- Swelling, heat and tenderness in the wrist area
- Tingling or numbness in the hand
Causes of Wrist Tendinitis
If tendons are stressed enough from excessive or unconditioned use, the sheath lining can become inflamed and movements may be painful as the tendons glide through the inflamed sheath.
Extensor tendinitis can be caused from overuse of the wrist during an activity. For example, if a person undertakes a massive spring cleaning, the wrist is usually held in a hyperextended position as the palm exerts the pressure. The extensor tendons at the wrist level are strained and tendon sheaths become inflamed.
Activities with frequent wrist actions , such as tennis, bowling, throwing and cathing, typing, sewing, etc., can also cause overuse injuries such as extensor tendinitis.
Some people are predisposed to extensor tendinitis if their body has a tendency to collect fluid around the tendons and joints. This can occur with conditions such as rheumatoid arhtritis, diabetes, and gout.
Prevention of extensor tendinitis is exercised simply by not overdoing any activities that use a lot of wrist motion (i.e. cleaning, gardening, typing, filing and writing). Be careful about suddenly increasing the time spent on these activities, as your tendons are not properly conditioned to the added stress. Close attention also should be paid to the positioning of the wrist and hand - try to maintain the wrist in a neutral position and avoid any excessive flexing (bending the wrist forward) and extending (bending of the wrist backward).
Treating Your Wrist Tendon
The trick with any tendon injury is getting it to heal with minimal scar tissue formation and with as much realignment of the tendon fibres as possible. Even with optimum healing, there is always less elasticity in a previously injured tendon. This will cause the tendon to hurt, during everyday activities. If you heal your injury efficiently and quickly, your chance of re-injury later on is much lower than average.
Allowing your tendon to rest is always recommended following injury. Try to avoid grasping, wringing, twisting and pinching or any other activities that may have caused the injury or irritation and begin cold compression treatments as soon as possible. The tendons in the thumbs and fingers are difficult to rest completely as they are essential for daily chores and activities.
Fortunately, there are healing tools that can help treat your tendons and speed up the healing process so you can get back to a life without pain and risk of further injury. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) promotes blood flow to heal your tendon faster and more completely which means less scar tissue formation and greater elasticity in the tissue.
Although steroid injections may provide temporary relief from the pain of tendinitis and tenosynovitis, multiple injections should be avoided as they weaken the tendon and may lead to a rupture.
Freezie Wrap® Cold Compression Therapy
Doctors recommend using cold compression as soon as possible following an acute tendon injury and re-injury to reduce pain and swelling and minimize tissue damage.
The Wrist Freezie Wrap® allows you to treat your tendon in an effective and convenient way. The wrap is versatile with Velcro attachments so you can wrap it around your hand, wrist or forearm where you need it. It's adjustable which allows you to control the compression to your comfort level.
Designed with ColdCure Technology®, the gel packs are chilled in the fridge not the freezer. This eliminates the risk of cryoburn, or 'cold burns', on your skin that can be cause by ice and strandard freezer gel packs. You can also wear the Freezie Wrap® for longer treatments so you can enjoy even more relief from your wrist or thumb pain!
Cold Compression Therapy works by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels. This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood to the tendon and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your tendon, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal your tendon faster and with less pain!
The deep cooling effect provided by the Wrist Freezie Wrap® gives you the fast, effective relief your sore tendon has been looking for!
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Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
After the inflammation and swelling is gone you can begin to treat your tendon with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®). BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your wrist to nourish your tendons and ligaments to speed healing.
Tendons receive a limited blood supply by nature and this significantly reduces the ability to heal.
By treating your tendon with BFST® you can increase your body's blood supply to the wrist and increase your body's natural healing power. In addition, the fresh blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins that have built up from the injury leaving the area clean and able to heal faster. Our Wrist Inferno Wrap® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
Click Here to learn more about how Inferno Wrap® BFST® works
With these easy-to-use, home therapies you will notice incredible improvement in the health and flexibility and reduced daily pain in your wrist. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.